Everybody's telling me to just move on.
But nobody can tell me how.
How to move on from here.
The place where, 40 years ago, I ended up after being sexually
exploited, abused, and assaulted by a priest.
And I'm not sure that -- even if it was possible -- "just" moving on is even a good idea.
The right thing to do.
Because that sexual exploitation and abuse was
witnessed, at least in part, by a man who was a priest, and is now a Cardinal, of the Catholic Church.
And Pope Francis refuses to enforce VOS ESTIS -- his supposed survivors
bill of rights -- and hold that now Cardinal accountable, and force
the Archdiocese of St. Louis to help me and my fellow survivors.
18 years after the Dallas Charter and the events portrayed in the
movie SPOTLIGHT, it's debatable how much has changed.
And, perhaps, because of it.
Because of how the Catholic Church is organized and run — and
by whom — what happened in Boston as a result of the SPOTLIGHT
revelations had a VERY limited impact on the rest
of the Catholic Church. And the Catholic press and the church's
lay boosters don't
seem particularly interested in the reality of the situation.
And, by extension, kids.
And, the fact is, innocent children remain very much at risk in
the Catholic Church.
I say that based, in part, on the treatment of survivors.
What I call the abused of the abused.
The Church of the Immacolata
First Communion (1979)
My name is Chris O'Leary and I'm a survivor of the Catholic
Church's sex abuse crisis. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, I was
sexually exploited, abused, and assaulted — raped — by Fr. LeRoy
Valentine at the Church of the Immacolata in Richmond Heights, MO, a
suburb of St. Louis.
In that church, right over there.
Abuse that, at least in part, then Father, and now Cardinal, Timothy Dolan,
the Archbishop of New York, saw.
And turned a blind eye to.
Stunningly, and tragically, men like like Timothy Cardinal Dolan,
rather than being held accountable for what they did — and did NOT do — back in
the depths of the crisis, and then again in 2002, are now running the
So, not surprisingly, VERY little has changed.
In the hearts of these men who turned blind eye to our abuse when
we were innocent children and then gaslighted us when we went to
them for help as traumatized adults.
In August 2018, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report was released. That
led to a number of things, including investigations of Archdioceses
like my own Archdiocese of St. Louis.
It also led the Archdiocese of St. Louis to hold a Mass of
Reparation, which I attended.
September 13, 2019
I stood silently, out front of the Cathedral Basilica, holding
December 26, 1980
...of me, from my time at Immacolata, with my abuser Fr. LeRoy
And I was COMPLETELY ignored.
By EVERY SINGLE ONE of the priests
At the Mass of Reparation for sexual abuse.
Sure, the Catholic Church SAYS it's sorry for what happened to
my fellow survivors and me. And it wants to help us.
But talk is cheap.
Actions speak louder than words
And the fact is that my own Archdiocese of St. Louis ignores survivors.
It refuses to help us.
It does NOTHING to help us.
And it continues to run a Smear Campaign against me.
Despite Vos Estis.
Because the Pope won't enforce Vos Estis.
Because that would mean holding accountable the hierarchy of the
Catholic Church. People like Timothy Cardinal Dolan.
People who, I can only assume, were just following orders.
And who is Pope Francis to judge them?
What's worse, neither the Catholic nor the mainstream press, in
St. Louis at least, will touch the story. Neither will Missouri Attornies
General, and now Senator, Josh Hawley or current MO AG Eric Schmitt.
Instead, everybody's trying to help the Archdiocese of St. Louis and
the Catholic Church.
But, in doing that, are they — actually — supporting
and protecting it? Or are they Enabling it?
Interfering with the understanding and discussion of exactly what
happened to us?
Why were we sacrificed?
And, if we don't know why WE were sacrificed as kids, and now as
adults, who's to say that the same sick justifications and rationalizations aren't still in place?
Meaning innocent children remain at risk.
The fact is too many Catholics remain afraid to ask the hard questions about
Then and now.
But I'll be damned if I allow what happened to me to happen to
So I will ask the hard questions and do the digging that is
Because, when I look at the example Jesus Christ set on Palm Sunday,
when he entered Jerusalem to a certain and KNOWN fate, I know that,
if HE could do that, I can do this.